Magic, Mystery, a little Whisky, and a Cat

E is for Equinox

I’m writing on spring equinox, March 20. On the equinox, the earth and sun stand straight up in relation to each other.  We are neither tilted away nor toward the sun; we are balanced.  We have two of these; one in the spring and one in the fall and they are magical days indeed. The vernal equinox is really the mid-point of spring which started on February 2—also an old pagan celebration day halfway between the solstice and the equinox.

The equinoxes are both astronomical and spiritual times.  On the equinox, day and night are as close to the same length as they ever get.  The ancients charted this in a variety of ways, the most impressive of which is the construction of giant horizon calendars—Stonehenge for example.  With these and with sundials, they tracked the seasons. Science and religion were very closely twined back in the day.

equinox-StonehengeSo the deal with equinoxes is that on these days, the earth is balanced between winter and summer, death and life.  Cultures in the northern hemisphere celebrate the spring equinox with bonfires and celebrations all with the theme of rebirth. Think eggs and rabbits, both pagan symbols for fertility and rebirth long before Christianity.

Ostara is a pagan goddess ( and let’s be clear here, that pagan gods and goddesses are seen by many not as real physical beings, but as metaphors for different aspects of the Universe which you can call God if you want to. The differences in beliefs are sometimes only semantic ones, it seems to me, and not worth arguing over.) But I’m getting over the flu and probably sound more testy than I should. Ostara is probably the origin of our word Easter and was the goddess of spring, rebirth, all that stuff to ancient Germanic tribes.

The spring equinox is the sun’s point of no return as it moves north in the sky. It reassures winter-weary creatures there really will be a spring—the days really will continue to get longer, the sun will warm the earth, plants will grow, life will regenerate and all will be well. And that is worth a party!!

Cover by Oghma Creative Media
Cover by Oghma Creative Media

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